If you're feeling good about the market, you're not alone. Let's go over some of this week's more uplifting headlines.
1. Quoth the BlackBerry forever more
Life will get more portable for Baltimore police officers, now that the budget has been approved to issue Research In Motion
Early results find that BlackBerry-carrying cops are generating more arrests, freed from radioing in requests or surfing through clumsy laptops.
This is great news for Research In Motion, naturally, especially if other major cities follow suit. BlackBerry-proficient officers may also steer friends and family members to choose BlackBerry over the sexier smartphone options.
2. Disney gets a dose of gamma rays
In their minds, it's just a matter of time before the family entertainment giant fiendishly ensnares their beloved superheroes:
- The Hulk joins Disney's Kermit the Frog in an "It's Not Easy Being Green" duet.
- A Disney Channel special arms the younger X-Men mutants with musical powers, trouncing Magneto's minions in the ultimate battle of the bands.
- Coming soon to Disneyland: Iron Man, the steel coaster.
None of this will happen, of course. If Disney thought it had the in-house ability to create a library of thousands of engaging comic book characters, it would have saved itself a cool $4 billion.
No, Disney understands how important it is for Marvel to stay autonomous, yet have the ability to turn to Disney's financing muscle and licensing prowess. Marvel will be an even more powerful company in a few years because of Disney. Bet on it.
3. Boxy but Sirius
Cars have been outfitted with satellite radio receivers for years, so it's only natural to see Sirius XM Radio
Sirius XM's latest deal involves Volvo. The automaker will offer three free months of Sirius to buyers of certified pre-owned cars with dormant receivers.
New car showrooms have a motivated sales force pushing the factory-installed receivers, but used car buyers just want an attractively priced automobile. Now that Volvo has a financial incentive to nudge secondhand car buyers toward satellite radio, everyone wins. Volvo makes a little more money, while Sirius XM lands incremental subscribers.
4. An old jewel gets a new setting
That isn't enough, apparently. The online jeweler gave its namesake site a makeover, the first redesign since its launch in 1999.
Blue Nile's new site features product snapshots that are four times larger than before. The new site is also more intuitive, with less clicking required to arrive at the information that fine jewelry buyers need before making a big-ticket purchasing decision.
The moves make sense, but Blue Nile gets the nod for breaking in the makeover during a seasonal and cyclical lull. Sleepy summer sales should pick up once the holidays roll around, but this has also been a tough recession for upscale jewelers. Why not roll the dice and tweak a site that -- while not broken -- had room for improvement?
You have to admire the players who take batting practice during rain delays. Swing away, Blue Nile.
5. Make it a YouTube night
Are YouTube viewers ready to pay up? Google's
If studios agree -- and it's hard to imagine why they wouldn't -- YouTube could soon offer high-quality streams of fresh releases at $3.99 a flick.
That's a smart move on several different levels:
- Diversifying away from ad-supported revenue gives the YouTube model some welcome depth.
- Sponsors will realize that YouTube isn't just about serving short clips to freeloaders. They'll likely be willing to pay more to reach premium viewers.
- YouTube rentals may keep Netflix's
(NASDAQ:NFLX)growth in check. Studios will think twice before signing less lucrative deals to stream their movies through Netflix's service, since the DVD rental giant makes streaming video available at no additional cost to its unlimited-plan subscribers.
As big as YouTube is, the world's leading video-sharing site may just have the girth to make premium digital video succeed, for a change.
Google and Blue Nile are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Walt Disney, Marvel Entertainment, and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an optimist at every turn. He's the inspiration for The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" song. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Disney and Netflix. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.